As a Leader, Are You Managing Your Energy?
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

There is a lot of discussion in organizations around time management.  Time is certainly a precious commodity for any leader in today’s fast-paced world.  However, I have come to learn that managing my energy is an even more important focus.

I see it in leaders all the time.  They are physically present but not “really there” with you.  I have done it myself.  I take the meeting or attend the event and I am “running on empty.”  When I do, it shows in how I am present to others.  And, they do notice.  In order to give our best, we must show up as our best.  And, we are at our best when we are rested, available, and emotionally aware.  You know the feeling when you have just come off of a restful vacation or a good night’s sleep.  You have an extra spring in your step and smile and this condition can be contagious. More and more this is how effective leaders are expected to attend to everything they do.

Keeping track of your energy and developing skills to replenish it are critically important – not only to your effectiveness but your long-term health.  Leaders, and especially senior leaders, can get into a bad habit of trying to fix every problem and be everywhere at once.  They see life as a series of sprints – but they never stop to rest.  This takes a significant toll on those around us – especially our families – if we are not aware of it.  And, it can seriously impact a person’s health.  I am reaching the age where my college classmates and friends are starting to experience effects of a life of too much stress, not enough rest, and poor overall life and recovery habits.  They have become seriously impaired – or even passed away – because they did not see the warning signs telling them to manage their energy – and their lives.  Our daily energy levels can be a more valuable tool than our schedule to see if we are truly being effective – and happy.

And, this is where I have seen the greatest impact of managing my energy level.  I am just happier – and a more pleasant person to others.  This aspect of a leader cannot be overstated.  All of our jobs are difficult, but they get easier with an optimistic outlook and a smile on our faces.  People respond to a calm and confident leader better than one who is dragging him or herself to the next meeting or event.  For me, managing my energy first – and adjusting my schedule when necessary – means I get to show up as the best me available.  And, my team deserves it.

So, how are you managing your energy? Do you take appropriate breaks, rests, and vacations?  Do you encourage others to manage their energy – not just their schedules?  Remember, life is more of a marathon than a sprint.  Marathons take planning, preparation, periods of rest, and taking care of your overall mind, body, and spirit.  It takes appropriate energy management. So, manage your energy – and then your schedule – for better results for you and the team you work with.